Letter to Friedrich Engels, June 21, 1854

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To Engels in Manchester

London, 21 June 1854, 28 Dean Street, Soho[edit source]

Dear Engels,

Your letter arrived early enough, between 2 and 3. But since I had only waited until 2, and since I had to go out of town on domestic business and my wife saw from the accompanying letter that the article couldn’t be sent off as it stood, it is still here. I shall use it for my Friday’s article, but would ask you to write to me before then —quite briefly if you are short of time — about the following points:

1. Is there anything new in the Turkish bulletins which appeared in yesterday’s Daily News? Have you any more details about the events of 28 [May]-13 [June] (which is as far, I believe, as the latest, albeit fragmentary, reports go)?

2. Is there anything of military significance about the operations on the Circassian coast? No doubt the news about Shamyl needs further confirmation.

3. The entry of the Austrians into Wallachia; what can be said about it from the military point de vue?

From the enclosed letter you will see that I'm over head and ears in bad luck. When my wife’s illness was at its worst, the good Dr Freund kept away and sent me a bill for £26 with the request that a ‘clear understanding’ be reached regarding his ‘professional relations’ to myself. Since my wife was in a critical — and is still in a serious — condition, I was of course compelled to capitulate to the dear ‘friend’ and promise him in writing that I would pay £8 down at the end of this month and the rest by six weekly instalments. Had the fellow not attacked me so much à l'imprévu he wouldn’t have caught me napping like that. But what was I to do? I should have had to pay any other respectable doctor by the visit and anyhow, even were this possible, one can’t change doctors like shirts in the middle of an illness, without first inquiring into their competence, etc.

So I find myself in a fix. I know that things are tight with you as well. Do you think Dronke might be able to advance me a few pounds for the instalment due at the end of this month? When he was here last, he gave me to understand that he could be approached at a time of real crisis. However, I'd like to have your opinion first. I must in any case pay the fellow the first instalment on the agreed date, and my bill in respect of the past months has already been drawn — all of it spent needless to say, since I had £12 to pay out for the household, and the total received was considerably reduced because of unwritten articles, besides which the chemist’s bills alone swallowed up a large part of the budget.

At the end of this week, if my wife feels strong enough, she, the children and Lenchen are going to spend a fortnight at Mr Seiler’s villa at Edmonton. She might then be so far restored by the country air as to manage the journey to Trier.

I can assure you that these last petites misères have turned me into a very dull dog.

Beatus ille that hath no family.

Vale faveque.

K. M.